NEW YORK — A paroled felon wanted in connection with a shooting opened fire on a New York City police detective Tuesday afternoon in a subway station, wounding him in the arm before the officer returned fire, shooting the gunman to death, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said.
Det. Kevin Herlihy was stable at a hospital and was expected to be released Wednesday. The suspect, Michael McBride, was hit in the chest and died, Bloomberg said. The 52-year-old had been wanted for questioning in the shooting of his girlfriend's daughter a day earlier in Queens.
McBride had gone to the girlfriend's home and got into an argument with her 25-year-old daughter, then shot her in the head, and fled the scene, Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said.
Herlihy, 47, is part of a squad in Queens that hunts wanted felons, and was dressed in plainclothes Tuesday afternoon, tracking McBride near the man's Harlem apartment. McBride realized he was being watched, and ducked into the subway at 145th Street in Harlem to elude the police, but detectives caught up to him in the subway, Kelly said.
McBride turned and fired at least three rounds, possibly six, before Herlihy returned fire, Kelly said, firing approximately 13 times. McBride went up a flight of stairs to a landing and collapsed, Kelly said. He was taken to a hospital where he was pronounced dead. It's not yet clear how many times he was hit. A .22-caliber, six-shot revolver was recovered at the scene, and police found five bullets.
Subway rider Edwin Pagan told the Daily News he got caught in the middle of it while checking his MetroCard.
"At least 17 shots rang out," Pagan said. "There was a woman with a baby carriage running behind me and everybody was trampling over each other."
Pagan told the paper that when the gunfire stopped he heard a detective standing over the wounded suspect yelling "It's over! It's over!" to backup officers responding to the scene.
Remarkably, no one else was injured, authorities said. The subway station at 145th Street was blocked off Tuesday evening with yellow crime-scene tape and teems of police and onlookers stood nearby. Subway service at the stop was bypassed as authorities investigated. Kelly and Bloomberg said they were relieved the officer was not injured worse.
"This was an example of team work, outstanding police work ... sophisticated tracking methods and something harder to quantify, good old fashioned courage," Kelly said.
Herlihy has been on the job 18 years and is married with three children. Bloomberg said he was in good spirits and was expected to fully recover.
It was the latest in a string of violent clashes between police and the public. Officer Peter Figoski was shot to death after a botched robbery in Brooklyn two months ago, and Officer Kevin Brennan was fired on at point-blank range during a struggle Jan. 31 and was shot in the head. He survived and was released from the hospital last week. A 21-year-old, Jose Ortiz, has pleaded not guilty in Brennan's shooting. Lamont Pride and four others have pleaded not guilty in the shooting of Figoski.
"The three shooters have at least one thing in common and that is they possessed their guns illegally," Bloomberg said. "That is true for nearly every shooting that occurs in our city."
McBride had been on parole for robbery and had an extensive criminal record, police said.
There have also been instances of officers shooting suspects. On Jan. 26, an off-duty NYPD officer killed a carjacking suspect during a shootout in Brooklyn. On Jan. 29, an off-duty detective shot a 17-year-old after police say the teen and another suspect hit the officer with a cane and tried to rob him while he was walking to catch a subway. And 18-year-old Ramarley Graham was shot in his house as he tried to flush a bag of marijuana down the toilet Feb. 2 in the Bronx. He was unarmed. The officer has been placed on desk duty and stripped of his gun and badge.